Not Saussure pp 164-234 | Cite as

Walking and Differance: Towards a Reinstatement of Legocentrism

  • Raymond Tallis
Part of the Language, Discourse, Society book series


At first sight, it seems obvious that speech has priority over writing; that the former is the central linguistic phenomenon while the latter is merely a device for capturing speech in a less transient form and permitting its diffusion beyond the temporal or spatial reach of an individual voice. This is, of course, a simplification. Many texts — for instance this book — are unlikely to have originated first as continuous spoken utterances and then been written down. Because what is written is preserved, it can be revised, collated, organised and connected with other moments of writing to generate a continuous discourse that could not have conceivably been produced in a single stretch of speech. This does not, however, impugn the priority of speech; the written text can still be plausibly regarded as the accumulation of many moments of actual speech (as in a transcript) or of potential speech (as in a text written over many years).


Western Culture Indicative Sign Western Philosophy External Reality Phenomenological Reduction 
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Notes to Chapter 6: Walking and Differance

  1. 1.
    This is the figure given by Claire Russell and W. M. S. Russell, ‘Language and Animal Signs’, in Noel Minnis (ed.), Linguistics at Large (London: Paladin, 1973).Google Scholar
  2. 4.
    Barbara Johnson, The Critical Difference: Essays in the Contemporary Rhetoric of Reading (Baltimore: the Johns Hopkins University Press, 1980) p. 9.Google Scholar
  3. 6.
    Cf. Martin Esslin, Antonin Artaud (London: Fontana, Modern Masters, 1976) p. 70: ‘I must smash language in order to touch life.’Google Scholar
  4. 7.
    Christopher Norris, Deconstruction: Theory and Practice (London: Methuen, 1982) p. 31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 12.
    Jonathan Culler, On Deconstruction: Theory and Criticism after Structuralism (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1983) p. 102.Google Scholar
  6. 15.
    J. L. Austin, How to Do Things with Words (Oxford University Press, 1963).Google Scholar
  7. 27.
    J. L. Austin, Sense and Sensibilia (Oxford University Press, 1962) p. 2.Google Scholar
  8. 34.
    George Herbert Mead, Mind, Self and Society (University of Chicago Press, 1934).Google Scholar
  9. 36.
    Jean-Paul Sartre, Being and Nothingness, trans. Hazel Barnes (London: Methuen, 1957).Google Scholar
  10. 37.
    P. D. Ouspensky, In Search of the Miraculous (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1950) pp. 117–18, 121.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Raymond Tallis 1988

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  • Raymond Tallis

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